Tiago Splitter, Patty Mills and 2014 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard will all be in suits for the San Antonio ring ceremony in tonight's season opener against Dallas.
Leonard missed all but one preseason game with a nasty right eye infection, while Splitter didn't play at all, nursing a calf injury. Neither player is expected to miss a serious amount of games, but they won't be available on Tuesday night.
Mills' absence was expected after he underwent shoulder surgery this offseason. His return will likely come in January.
What it means for the Mavs
With the injuries, the starting five for San Antonio will likely look as such: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Marco Bellinelli, Tim Duncan and either Matt Bonner or Boris Diaw. Kyle Anderson should get minutes off the bench behind Bellinelli.
The loss of Splitter and Leonard removes arguably the team two best defenders, especially for matching up with Dirk. After a poor shooting series against the Spurs in last year's playoffs, it wouldn't surprised me if he reminds people how good he still is.
It's never easy to beat the Spurs, but an old Nelly-ism is that if you're going to knock off a team like this, the ring ceremony is a good time to do it. At practice on Monday, Devin Harris agreed to a certain point, saying that he's seen it distract a team in some situations, but motivate teams in other ones.
Regardless, it's just good that the NBA is finally back.